A Week in Review

February 15-22
“Snafu” | Agent Carter
Hayley Atwell

It’s no surprise that Hayley Atwell once again takes the crown for Performance of the Week. At this point, it should probably be upgraded to a Performance of the Year crown.

“Snafu” put Atwell in a position that required a great extent of expressiveness. It isn’t easy to convey heartbreak and fear subtly, but for the first twenty minutes of the episode, Atwell did just that while in a frustrated state. Instances where one of theSSR agents picked up the Blitzrieg Button which held Steve Rogers’ blood, audiencescould see Peggy’s transient fears and uncertainties surface. In a consciouseffort to keep the contents of the device concealed, Atwell was able to showcase the right amount of emotions thus managing to remind viewers that while she’s stronger than anyone can imagine, her heart’s still broken. When it comes to Steve Rogers, it’s difficult to keep up a collected exterior. And beyond the profoundly poignant expressions, body language does a prestigious job of painting the state of mind. Peggy dealt with a whirlwind of emotions in this episode, but what remained a constant was her knowledge of self worth. In the midst of everything, Atwell reminded us that Peggy Carter knows who she is, what she’s capable of, and how far she’s willing to go to bring justice into the world.

The most brilliant part of the Interrogation was Peggy Carter representing herself as the woman she is as opposed to the perceptions the men have created for her. Agent Carter can take care of herself and that’s always been what she’s wanted to prove. Hayley Atwell is a gift — truly, I’m dumbfounded by the lack of words in the English dictionary to describe her masterful performances. Peggy Carter shuns each of their discernments of her with a robust and eloquent stance painting a picture of who she really is outside of the visions they’ve created. As a series, Agent Carter does a magnificent job of showcasing women as anything but damsels in distress, because even as she’s locked up and has no where else to go, she exemplifies the notion that there’s always a way. Yes, she’s fully capable of taking each of them down, but since she’s cuffed to the table, the best she can do is stun them with her words. Get back at each of them individually for pinning her as the vile villain when Dottie Underwood is on the loose. Additionally, the series allows us to see that while Peggy Carter is fiercely independent and physically strong, she’s someone who often allows her heart to do the talking. She gives in to vulnerability. And once again Peggy Carter corroborates that she’s a woman who will do anything in her power to earn the respect she knows she deserves.

Grief and fear are the two emotions that are only poignantly evocative when delivered with the right amount of emotions. Evidently, no two performers will have the same methods, but each actor must establish his/her own form in order for the audience to sincerely feel something at the pit of their stomachs. After all, if an actor’s performance doesn’t move you beyond words, then the job sadly hasn’t been done correctly. Hayley Atwell’s performance in the very scene we’re about to discuss was nothing short of perfection — a true work of art. Atwell did an astounding job of revealing that whatever Peggy’s about to give up in order to earn their trust, is something of pivotal value. And for the audience, it’s simple to pinpoint the moment Peggy’s heart shatters because she’s about to give up the last thing she has remaining from Steve Rogers. As Peggy Carter states that the last sample of Captain Steve Rogers’ blood is inside the vial, Atwell is at her finest, the sincere susceptibility she manifests is breathtaking. Expectedly, any mention of Steve Rogers on Agent Carter has the undeniable power to tug on the heartstrings more than anything. What’s even more heartbreaking than the fact that she’s giving it up is the detail where she states: “I suppose I just wanted a second chance at keeping him safe.” Peggy’s adoration for Steve is the paradigm of unconditional — the tragic circumstances that have forced the two of them apart are still thought about. Maybe if he’d given his coordinates, they could’ve found him quicker. Maybe if they were together, there could’ve been another option. Maybe this, maybe that. Anyone in Peggy’s place would perpetually be haunted by the agonizing idea of what if — the lingering conception that things could’ve turned out differently if they’d tried something else. Peggy Carter has always loved the man behind the uniform, the kind, eager soul who believed in righteousness and earnestness. And for a man like that to be taken away as quickly as he was, it’s entirely fathomable that Peggy would do anything and everything to hold onto as much as she can — that she’d try to keep him safe because he deserved to be treasured. Peggy Carter has never been more vulnerable in front of her fellow agents and baring her heart in this way required a great deal of admirable bravery. Atwell’s posture and expressiveness did a pristine job of transporting us all back to the place where she and Steve were together — conveying the moment they went from a place where they were both loved and equals, to emptiness making its way into Peggy Carter’s life as the moment Steve’s voice could no longer be heard through the speakers. A place where there is no alternative of going back, no light, and no more chances of the two of them dancing as one. Hayley Atwell illuminated Peggy Carter’s inconceivable pain so immaculately where there aren’t enough words to describe it.

Generally, whatever the scene requires, Atwell gives 110% each and every time – in other words, she’s an absolute gift to the world of television and an indescribably exquisite marvel to watch week after week.

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